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Evgeny Kuznetsov takes off his pads after Sunday’s game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

By tomorrow morning, big changes may have already struck the Washington Capitals. After the Caps’ final game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players were somber, but not angry. They’ve been dealing with postmortem questions since Thursday. Four days later, those questions haven’t got any easier to answer, even if the team’s flaws are clear.

I brought my camera into the locker room as the players took off their skates for the final time this year and faced probing reporters Sunday evening. They’ll have to face the latter again tomorrow morning.

Take a look at my photos.

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  • Zach S.

    This post got me feeling like

  • Bilal

    there’s an empty feeling in my heart right now……..This got me feeling like…
    https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/6965543168/hACFB1AE9/

  • Amykins

    ALL OF THE FEELS.

  • Just_sayin3

    I can’t believe it’s over…. :'(

  • JenniferH

    Waaaaah!!!!

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    Very sad and forlorn …

  • Dan

    I just hope those three nametags in the first picture stay riiiiiight there. And the ones on desks upstairs go farrrrrrrrrr away. That’s all. Thanks!

  • SamWow Carroll

    Great way to feel better is listen to Peter Hassett’s album (HEYO).

    But seriously, sadness in the pictures.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    haha thaaaaaaaaaaaanks?

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I have been a Caps fan since 1980 and a Wings fan before that, going back to 1964. This is the first time my team made an early exit and I was like, “Thank God it’s over, maybe the owner will finally make changes.”
    George McPhee isn’t the worst GM in hockey, but like the French generals in 1940, he is totally misguided in how to prepare this team to compete. And Adam Oates is like the WEIRDEST coach ever in the NHL.
    Let’s hope Ted finally “bought a clue” from Pat Sajak and has figured out we need to go in a new direction.
    Tom Orem Santa Clarita CA
    @tominsocal1 productions

  • Josh

    No.. it can’t be over.. no…

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    And now, an all-new, “Life With Ted”
    “Ted, you wanted to see me?”
    “Yes, George, have a seat.”
    “My secretary said you wanted to discuss, ‘team performance.'”
    “That was part of it.”
    “You know, we faced a hot goalie. What can you do?”
    “You mean in 2010 versus Halak, George?”
    “2010? Oh, I thought you meant yesterday.”
    “No, it goes deeper, George, it goes to your selection of head coaches.”
    “Hey, Ted, you can just hold it right there. I’ve heard the criticism; I’ve heard the pundits; they say I can’t hire a coach.”
    “And your rejojnder?”
    “I can hire a coach. I’ve hired six of them.”
    “Any good ones?”
    “Ted, just look at my first round picks. I am the man who picked Alex Ovechkin.”
    “Anyone in hockey would have taken him.”
    “And I took Nick Backstrom.”
    “He was consensus fourth overall.”
    “And nabbing Varlamov in the 20s was a coup.”
    “Yes, but you traded him.”
    “And it was a great deal.”
    “Great deal?’
    “We got two picks including 11th overall.”
    “What are those picks doing for us now, George?”
    “Ted. you really need to concentrate on renewals. Aren’t they at like 98%?”
    “George, look, you’ve fed me this BS for years. And I believed you. And now the national media says I’m out of touch. Meanwhile you’ve hired more coaches than Liz Taylor had husbands.”
    “Well, you know, at least I never hired the same one twice.”
    “Get out, George.”
    “But – Ted – ”
    “Get! Get out! And don’t come back! And take all your yes-men with you!”
    BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
    “Yes, Betty?”
    “It’s Katie Carrera, Mister Leonsis. She has questions relative to Mister McPhee’s status as GM.”
    “Tell her, well, tell her I’ll have to get back to her. Tell her I’m not having a very good day.
    “Yes, sir, Mister Leonsis, I’ll tell her that.”
    starring Danny DeVito as Ted, George Clooney as George and with special guest star Betty White as Betty
    written, created and produced by tominsocal1
    THIS HAS BEEN A TOMINSOCAL1 PRODUCTION

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    And now, from tominsocal1 productions, all-new, “At The McPhees'”
    “Yes, well, if not for Brooks Laich’s injury, surely we might have made the Eastern Conference finals…definitely, if Mike Green had been healthy, we might well have gone further…absolutely, if Connor Carrick had become a man five years sooner, we might have – ”
    “Dad?”
    “Er! Oh, what, Junior?”
    “Why are you talking into the mirror?’
    “Oh, er, I was just practicing.”
    “Practicing what?’
    “Well, you know, practicing answering questions.”
    “But why, Dad? Why should you have to practice?”
    “Because, Junior, because the press can be really mean. They will act like your friend, and then they will throw you under the bus.”
    “You mean like Aunt Katie?”
    “Oh, harumpf, I wish you wouldn’t bring up that name.”
    “But I thought you liked her. I mean, Dad, she was always so nice.”
    “Beware, my son, the media bearing gifts.”
    “Huh?”
    “Forget it, Junior. Just forget it. My advice to you, son: Don’t trust anyone, not even yourself.”
    “What sense does that make, Dad?”
    “It doesn’t need to make sense, Junior, so long as Ted can sell tickets.”
    “Gee, Dad, life seems so complicated.”
    “It isn’t, Junior, just learn to fabricate and embellish.”
    “Should I still go to college, Dad?”
    “You don’t need to, but it would look good to others.”
    “OK, thanks, Dad.”
    “Sure son.”
    starring George Clooney as George and Justin Bieber as Graham
    written, created and produced by tominsocal1
    THIS HAS BEEN A TOMINSOCAL1 PRODUCTION

  • Owen Johnson
  • Shaun Phillips

    And those goalie pads aren’t seen again.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Glad to see I’m not the only Wings/Caps fan here. Grew up in SE Michigan and married into the Caps.

  • Doublenickelporn

    When your 11 year old child questions they way a team play’s hockey and is constructed you know their is an issue. I hold out hope among hope that Ted hires a hockey guy to run this team and bring in the GM/Coach/Assistants himself. Its becoming more and more Ashburn like around this franchise year in and year out. Is it the water in DC?